Maritime Freight Transport Market – Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2023 - 2028)

The Maritime Freight Transport Market is segmented by Type (Containerized and Non-containerized) and Geography (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle-East and Africa, and South America).

Maritime Freight Transport Industry Overview

maritime freight transport market
Study Period: 2019 - 2028
Fastest Growing Market: Asia Pacific
Largest Market: Asia
CAGR: > 4 %

Major Players

maritime logistics and services market

*Disclaimer: Major Players sorted in no particular order


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Maritime Freight Transport Market Analysis

The maritime freight transport segment is expected to exhibit a growth of about 4% during the forecast period. The traditional port world is changing, as the demographical, technological, and sustainability drivers affect daily business and shape several important trends. The global shipping industry is expected to face a number of challenges, including geopolitical uncertainties, such as the US-China trade negotiations and Brexit.

China has a strong influence on the shipping sector since it is a major trade partner for several countries. Although, the container shipping market in China is facing some early-year disruption due to COVID-19. Even though the bunker prices have increased about 35-45% from January 2020, largely due to changes in fuel regulation on the usage of Low Sulphur Fuel by IMO 2020, the crash in the oil prices due to COVID-19 have nullified this effect.

Tanker rates have profited tremendously from the high demand for floating storage. Still, the charter rates are expected to return closer to long-run averages in the second half of the year, as broad economic weakness finds its way into the tanker market.

Maritime Freight Transport Industry Segments

Maritime freight transport refers to a means of transport where goods are transported via sea routes. In some cases, maritime transport can encompass pre- and post-shipping activities. The report provides a complete background analysis of the global marine freight transport market, which includes an assessment of the economy, market overview, market size estimation for key segments, and emerging trends in the market, market dynamics, and key company profiles. The report also covers the impact of COVID-19 on the sector.

The maritime freight transport market is segmented by type (containerized and non-containerized) and geography (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle-East and Africa, and South America).

By Type
By Geography
North America
United States
Rest of North America
United Kingdom
Rest of Europe
Rest of Asia-Pacific
Middle-East and Africa
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
Rest of Middle-East and Africa
South America
Rest of South America

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Maritime Freight Transport Market Trends

This section covers the major market trends shaping the Maritime Freight Transport Market according to our research experts:

Containerization is Evolving as a Trend

According to UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), international maritime trade is driven in particular by growth in containerized, dry bulk, and gas cargos. However, uncertainties like geopolitical tensions and global pandemics like COVID-19 remain an overriding theme in the current maritime transport environment, with risks tilted to the downside. The long-term trend toward the containerization of general cargo is upward rising. A large share of globalized containerized trade continued to be carried across the major East-West containerized trade arteries, namely Asia–Europe, the Trans-Pacific, and the Transatlantic. Containerized and dry bulk trades are expected to register a compound annual growth rate of 4.5% and 3.9%, respectively, over the forecast period.

 maritime logistics and services market overview

Asia-Pacific is the Fastest Growing Market

The Asia-Pacific region consists of some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, like China and India. The trade exchanges support this growth in the maritime transportation sector by these countries, of which the majority of international trade takes place via sea routes. The central role of Asia in global trade and shipping is also highlighted by trends in global container port-handling activities. Asian countries are experiencing a large increase in intra-regional trade, mostly based on manufacturing trades and reflecting fragmented production processes, where parts are generally manufactured in multiple locations across Asia and assembled in another location. This is also expected to increase trade, supported by marine transportation. Demand growth originated mostly in Asia, bolstered by ongoing energy policy shifts and rising export capacity in Australia and the United States.

maritime logistics and services market share

Maritime Freight Transport Market Competitor Analysis

The maritime transport market is fairly concentrated, with a few players accounting for significant amounts of shares in the market. Some of the prominent companies in the market are MSC, COSCO, and AP Moller.

Maritime transport is a complex area of activity, owing to the inherently international nature of shipping and its multi-stakeholder dimension. The companies in the sector are focusing on complying with the International Maritime Organization’s lower global sulfur cap on marine fuels (IMO 2020) from January 2020, as the segment moves toward implementing the plans to reduce its carbon footprint and contribution to pollution.

Maritime Freight Transport Market Top Players

  1. AP Moller (Maersk)

  2. China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO)

  3. Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC)

  4. CMA-CGM

  5. Hapag-Lloyd

*Disclaimer: Major Players sorted in no particular order

AP Moller,  Mediterranean Shipping Company SA , CMA-CGM, China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company, Hapag-Lloyd, ONE - Ocean Network Express, Evergreen Line

Maritime Freight Transport Market Recent Developments

February 2021: Danish shipping firm Maersk announced that it would not be using transitional marine fuels, such as LNG, to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions but instead will jump directly to net-zero fuels: biodiesel, bio-methanol, e-methanol, lignin fuels, and green ammonia.

June 2020: Houston-headquartered OSV owner Seacor Marine Holdings sealed an agreement with Cosco Shipping Group to acquire the Chinese company’s 50% stake in Seacosco Offshore.

Maritime Freight Transport Market Report - Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study


    1. 2.1 Analysis Methodology

    2. 2.2 Research Phases



    1. 4.1 Current Market Scenario

    2. 4.2 Market Dynamics

      1. 4.2.1 Drivers

      2. 4.2.2 Restraints

      3. 4.2.3 Opportunities

    3. 4.3 Value Chain/Supply Chain Analysis

    4. 4.4 Technological Advancements

    5. 4.5 Government Regulations and Key Initiatives

    6. 4.6 Insights into Transshipment Trade

    7. 4.7 Insights into Containerized and Non-containerized Shipments

    8. 4.8 Freight Rates and Maritime Transport Costs

    9. 4.9 Insights into Intermodal/Container Utilization

    10. 4.10 Demand-Supply Analysis

    11. 4.11 Impact of COVID-19 on the Market


    1. 5.1 By Type

      1. 5.1.1 Containerized

        1. General

        2. Reefer

      2. 5.1.2 Non-containerized

    2. 5.2 By Geography

      1. 5.2.1 North America

        1. United States

        2. Canada

        3. Rest of North America

      2. 5.2.2 Europe

        1. Germany

        2. Russia

        3. France

        4. United Kingdom

        5. Rest of Europe

      3. 5.2.3 Asia-Pacific

        1. China

        2. Japan

        3. Australia

        4. India

        5. Rest of Asia-Pacific

      4. 5.2.4 Middle-East and Africa

        1. Saudi Arabia

        2. South Africa

        3. Rest of Middle-East and Africa

      5. 5.2.5 South America

        1. Brazil

        2. Colombia

        3. Argentina

        4. Rest of South America


    1. 6.1 Market Concentration Overview

    2. 6.2 Company Profiles

      1. 6.2.1 AP Moller (Maersk)

      2. 6.2.2 Mediterranean Shipping Company SA (MSC)

      3. 6.2.3 CMA-CGM

      4. 6.2.4 China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO)

      5. 6.2.5 Hapag-Lloyd

      6. 6.2.6 ONE - Ocean Network Express

      7. 6.2.7 Evergreen Line

      8. 6.2.8 HMM Co. Ltd

      9. 6.2.9 Yang Ming Marine Transport

      10. 6.2.10 Zim

      11. 6.2.11 Wan Hai Lines

      12. 6.2.12 PIL Pacific International Line*

    3. *List Not Exhaustive

  8. 8. APPENDIX

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Maritime Freight Transport Market Research FAQs

The Maritime Freight Transport Market is studied from 2019 - 2028.

The Maritime Freight Transport Market is growing at a CAGR of >4% over the next 5 years.

Asia Pacific is growing at the highest CAGR over 2019 - 2028.

Asia holds highest share in 2021.

AP Moller (Maersk), China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO), Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC), CMA-CGM, Hapag-Lloyd are the major companies operating in Maritime Freight Transport Market.

Maritime Freight Transport Industry Reports

In-depth industry statistics and market share insights of the Maritime Freight Transport sector for 2020, 2021, and 2022. The Maritime Freight Transport research report provides a comprehensive outlook of the market size and an industry growth forecast for 2023 to 2028. Available to download is a free sample file of the Maritime Freight Transport report PDF.

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